A season of pain at the Westfalenstadion has somehow gotten worse. Michy Batshuayi suffered ligament damage in his ankle during the loss to Schalke, which means he has likely played the last game of his loan to Borussia Dortmund.
It’s the time of the year when Bayern are about to be crowned and the Bundesliga drifts lazily to the end of its campaign, but there is actually still much to play for. Dortmund have not yet secured a Champions League spot. They find themselves in fourth with a four-point cushion on fifth-place Red Bull Leipzig. Fourth is good enough to get them into the UCL group stage, but slipping down any further would be a disaster.
Thus, Saturday’s match with Leverkusen is crucial. It would be nice for Peter Stöger to have Michy available, but reports indicate that the Belgian will be pressed just to get back to fitness before the World Cup begins in Russia in June.
This isn’t good news, but there is a silver lining.
It was a nice dream to have when he was banging in goals for the Black and Yellows, but Batshuayi was never going to sign permanently for Dortmund this summer.
Chelsea aren’t dumb. They know Michy is only 24-years-old and still a tremendous talent. Things might have been different had the Belgian striker struggled at Dortmund, but he thrived and reminded his parent club of the potential that inspired them to sign him from Marseille for £33 million.
It’s true that he wasn’t favored by Antonio Conte, but the Blues will bring in a new manager this summer. That new manager will come into preseason eager to see what Batshuayi and Alvaro Morata can do.
Morata has had a tough debut season at Stamford Bridge. It would be harsh to call him a flop, but he has not looked like a player who cost £60 million to bring to the club. He’s a year older than Michy. He has had more chances in blue than Michy, with similar rates of return. Is it crazy to think that a new boss at Chelsea could prefer the Belgian to the Spaniard? They’ll need more than one reliable goal-scorer, and Michy with Morata would be a formidable tag-team.
Even if Chelsea do decide to sell Batshuayi this summer, it probably won’t be at a price that Dortmund can afford. Everyone in Europe is aware of what he has done during his time at BVB. There will be plenty of suitors coming to call. It’s likely that a few of them will be able to offer higher transfer fees and higher wages for his services.
Watzke and the other decision makers at Dortmund need to recognize this. Hopefully they have already started preparing for an early foray into the transfer market this summer. Batshuayi was doing a great job of replacing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals, but if they can’t pry him from Chelsea they need to find a similar talent.
The few strikers who are in that conversation will not last long. If Dortmund wait until after the World Cup to get involved in that game, it will be too late. They’ll end up having to do what Chelsea did in January; sign Olivier Giroud.
Panic buying a striker is not a recipe for success, which is why the Michy move made sense. Loaning Batshuayi to replace Aubameyang was a temporary fix for Dortmund. This summer they need to scout, woo, and sign their long-term solution.